National Network of Public Accessible Changing Places

I would like to see as a family caregiver a national network of public changing places. These changing places will be of a standard that is recognised with the international symbol for Changing Places. 

What is a Changing Place?

It is a public bathroom that has a height adjustable change bed with a ceiling track hoist to safely lift a child/adult that is unable to use a public toilet. It has a height adjustable sink to allow wheelchair users the opportunity to wash their hands. It has space for a caregiver and wheelchair user to safely manoevre in. It has a security system and registration that keeps the equipment safe and well maintained. Having a registered Changing Place will mean that user's will be able find out where they are located. They will know the standard will work for them and it will also promote the areas they are located in as a destination. This is purely because those that need these facilities will seek them out and build their community visits around them. They will not only be an essential need for the disabled person but also the family and network that support them. is the place to visit for more informaton.

Why the contribution is important

This idea is very important, not only for New Zealanders who need access the bathrooms in their communities, but also for overseas visitors who like to travel and have a disability.

Not everyone can use and self-transfer onto a public disability toilet! Imagine having to plan your day close to home just in case you need the toilet. These changing places can also come in the form of mobile bathrooms at events. Imagine not being able to attend an event in case you need the loo. 

I am a mother with 3 young children, one with Cerebral Palsy and in a wheelchair. We like to be out and about just like anyone in our communities. Our lives are based around our home because we literally unable to stray too far away from home in case my son needs to go to the toilet. Imagine trying to transfer a 14 year old boy from a wheelchair to simply use a toilet. It's impossible and as a caregiver I am already injured and on ACC through attempting these transfers at Auckland and Queenstown Airport, Malls, Auckland Zoo, Events, Parks, Beaches ... the list is endless.

That is why this is idea is so important to people like us. We are not alone there are thousands of us in New Zealand. The United Kingdom now has over 1000 of these Changing Places dotted around. Australia has a good number and we have finally got one down in the Hamilton Gardens.

Visit for further information where you will find all the work has been done for you.



by kimberlygraham on November 23, 2018 at 03:09PM

Current Rating

Average score : 4.9
Based on : 21 votes


  • Posted by Davena November 23, 2018 at 19:28

    I definitely vote for this. My son is a 22 year old with cerebral palsy in a wheelchair. It is impossible to toilet him anywhere in Christchurch apart from home and other friends places
  • Posted by Emorphet November 24, 2018 at 10:19

    I work with children with additional needs, and this is a big barrier we face to accessing the community and getting out and about. It's such an important issue and no one is talking about it!
  • Posted by Camille November 24, 2018 at 14:10

    Absolutely need this. We have had to put our son on the floor in public toilets to change him which is so degrading.
  • Posted by Huhana November 24, 2018 at 19:28

    Very needed, it is absolutely a travesty that an adult with significant ant disabilities cannot find at least one facility in each region (or regional area for Auckland) to be able to have the dignity of being toileted and changed. Older children with disabilities, youth and adults of all ages need this. I saw them in Australia and they are amazing.
  • Posted by kjeffries1 November 24, 2018 at 19:32

    Since accessing the Hamilton changing places a few times now, I wish they were all over the country. Knowing we can travel to the area for a day trip, or use the facility prior to a hospital admission etc it has proven vital - in fact we used it today on a day trip! When travelling or even in our own town, knowing there is somewhere you can change your child without breaking your back, or causing harm to them too, is peace of mind. Quality of life. And allowing acess to the communities out there.
  • Posted by Amybelle November 24, 2018 at 22:43

    Our community life is dictated by access to toilets, or rather, lack of access to toilets.

    Presently the only place we can go for longer than an hour is my daughter’s school, as they have appropriate changing facilities.

    It’s really really hard having to choose between safety and having a life.

    It’s jadd enough carting equipment around and juggling our lives. Could we not just have freely available toileting facilities? I’m trying to toilet train my daughter but it’s virtually impossible when she can’t go to the toilet anywhere but home or school.

    Get this standard into the building and start giving disabled people the ability to use a toilet. It’s a human right.
  • Posted by Jasmine November 25, 2018 at 06:46

    As a parent of a growing (and increasingly hard to physically handle) child with severe disabilities, I completely agree with all of the above comments. Our access to community life is very much governed by whether and where there are flat change facilities. In Auckland, there are VERY few, so we stay home, all day, every day, except for school.
  • Posted by Elliesanson November 25, 2018 at 10:16

    As a nurse and support worker working with people with disabilities this is a very important issue.
    Throughout my training I have been taught that manual handling increases yours and the other persons risk of injury significantly. That’s why there are hoists to assist with transfers etc.
    But to limit the places that people with a disability can be safely transferred/changed is unfair and means that they are unable to go places and participate is our communities. There needs to be a focus on changing the way people with disabilities are able to access places to enable them to do, go and see places/things in accordance with best practice.
  • Posted by Lise November 25, 2018 at 11:48

    This is so very much needed! As a mother of a 14 year old wheelchair user, it is frustrating the lack of suitable toileting facilities available that are needed for those with physical disabilities.
  • Posted by Barb November 25, 2018 at 15:48

    As mum of two young men who both have high and Complex needs, I can safely say toileting is the biggest issue in leaving the house. Home and school are set up with fully accessible bathrooms, with ceiling hoists and changing tables... but no where in our community or any other we visit is there somewhere to go. When my eldest leaves school in a few months, he will have to come home if he needs to use a toilet.
    Currently accessible toilets provide nothing for those who need full access. Using a toilet should be a right we all have, not a privilege only for those able to use one.
  • Posted by Tania November 26, 2018 at 13:14

    yes all true big high barriers in not have enough accessibility in Wellington, i was doing work in Wellington accessibility for city of wellington, wow. its too much problems in wellington and make it solution to outcomes and fix more to come in the future and will have to work with my colleagues in Wellington City council and want to hear from the community to provide the barriers and not have enough to answer more. i want full access to wellington city and organisations and business as well. i want to hear and know the feedback from the community is come first. thanks.
  • Posted by cheryldevo November 26, 2018 at 22:58

    I think this is an essential human necessity and would mean so much to many families who have to plan trips around toileting or stay at home. A basic human right that has been overlooked for far too long.
  • Posted by ursula November 28, 2018 at 13:29

    "New Zealand took a leading role at the United Nations in the development of a convention making explicit the rights of disabled people. New Zealand signed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Disabled Persons at the United Nations on 30 March 2007, and ratified it on 26 September 2008. All new legislation and policy should be consistent with the Convention, or New Zealand will be in breach of its obligations and subject to criticism by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities."
    In the 21st century we should all be aware of Human Rights and Universal Design, specifically in the public domain in New Zealand. Everyone has a right to enjoy meaningfully participation in society and to access public facilities. It therefore seems logical that all 'public' toilets would be accessible for everyone - not just the able-bodied population. And while the standard accessible toilet is usually enough, there are also many occasions when fully accessible changing facilities are required.
  • Posted by changingplacesnewzealand November 30, 2018 at 01:16

    I’m Jenn and I created Changing Places New Zealand. Our standards are different to the UK and Australia (higher) and so is our campaigning strategy... We believe that these facilities haven’t been excluded because councils etc have been remiss. It’s because they didn’t know there was a need - and they hadn’t been given a detailed solution. We’ve set out to change that and hope that when they know better they’ll do better.

    Please help us get these facilities built nationwide so that those that need them and their families and caters can enjoy the same freedom of movement through our communities that others take for granted.

  • Posted by sassy March 04, 2019 at 16:03

    I totally agree with every ones comments on here. l am a double below the knee amputee and have trouble accessing any disabled hospital and public toilets as l use an electric wheelchair and toilet seats are any where from 6-8" lower than my electric seat at its lowest setting, l also only have the use of one arm which makes transferring onto anything twice as difficult.
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